Persona and Personalities: Medieval Lineage, Modern Legacy

  • Geoffrey W. Gust
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


In Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry, it often appears that the author is present in some way, shape, or form. But this seeming presence is a kind of narrative mirage, inconsistent and unreliable. The three well-known disclaimers selected to introduce this chapter are indicative of the shifting, elusive authorial technique manipulated by poet throughout his oeuvre. Chaucer frequently cultivates the illusion of authorial presence, sometimes to establish his own authority—“I wot myself best how y stonde”— and sometimes to defer to the authority of other authors and texts, as in the example cited earlier from Troilus and Criseyde. In other instances, he creates a different kind of illusion by downplaying his presence, to the extent that the Man of Law may enthusiastically speak of Chaucer the poet’s “rymyng.”


Narrative Persona Oxford English Dictionary Literary Persona Narrative Perspective Term Persona 
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© Geoffrey W. Gust 2009

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